Cricut machines offer a customizable, automated way to speed up the precise cutting required in crafting projects, but the capabilities of these devices are about to be limited by an upcoming update. Cricut is updating the machines’ accompanying software, Design Space, by putting caps on uploads that could restrict the number of projects Cricut owners are actually able to make.
Getting a Cricut ready to cut requires using premade patterns or uploading original designs to an application called Design Space. That’s been free and unlimited for all users in the past, but now Cricut is limiting users to 20 free uploads per month. To upload more, owners will soon have to subscribe to Cricut’s Access Standard plan for $9.99 per month / $95.88 per year or Access Premium plan for $118.88 per year.
Anything that’s previously been uploaded will be able to stay in Design Space without any changes or limits, but it’s important to understand that to use a modern Cricut, you need to use Design Space in some capacity. And Cricut machines themselves can cost anywhere from around $179 to $399, before the potential subscription.
A Cricut Explore Air 2, one of the many Cricut machines that require the use of Design Space.
At its most basic, Design Space is required to upload designs created in other apps so they can be formatted to work with Cricut machines. For example, a pattern for a paper flower made in Adobe Illustrator or a logo sketched in Procreate can be uploaded so the Cricut machine knows where to cut on whatever material is being used, whether it’s paper, fabric, vinyl, or even wood. Design Space works on its own as a creation software, but if you subscribe, it becomes more fully featured, with access to exclusive fonts, images, and patterns. Even with the optional subscription for more features, many users still choose to create their work elsewhere and only use Design Space for preparation before cutting.
Now with this new upload limit, a subscription is needed to restore the functionality crafters original bought a Cricuit for: creating as many projects as needed, with the only limit being materials, rather than an arbitrary number set by a software update.
Beyond the ever-present, scary reality that companies can limit the capabilities of a product you “own” after the fact, multiple Cricut owners have contacted The Verge about an even more glaring problem: projects can often require multiple uploads to complete, meaning that 20 upload limit could be reached even faster. This could be because of user error or a complex project requiring multiple pieces, but for any person who uses a Cricut in their business, that means they could very well be forced to subscribe if they want to keep up their normal level of productivity.
In a statement provided to The Verge, Cricut said it remains committed to its plan and “creating the best possible experience for [its] members”:
Cricut announced changes to our Design Space software, including new Offset and Project Collection features, as well as an update to personal uploads, limiting image and pattern uploads to 20 per month for members without a Cricut Access subscription. All users will still be able to design and cut regardless of uploads. Cricut remains dedicated to creating the best possible experience for our members, and we will continue to support our community of makers as our top priority.
The response to Cricut’s planned change is also boiling over on the company’s unofficial subreddit. Cricut users have shared the contact information of Cricut employees and launched a Change.org petition in protest of the upcoming update. Cricut says it will start prompting users to subscribe in Design Space in the next few weeks until the upload limit goes into effect at an unspecified date.